The question on time off for trade union activists and representatives keeps coming up and an intensive debate re starts every few years. The return of the arguments in favour and against having more or less time off is now a ritual.
It would appear that the pressure from the employer increases whenever there is a political shift to the right, so whenever the so called 'tax payers alliance' decides to have a go employers up and down the country start questioning the amount of time allocated for representing members.
What we must remember is that the current legislation as it stands allows for time off for duties and what it restricts is the time off given for activities and given that the vast majority of those representing members is spend on preparing and doing case work any sensible employer should stay way clear of taking action victimising reps for trying to help others. So whether an employer agrees block release or not a rep can still have time off as long as she/he gives notice in advance of what work they intend to do which relates to duties. The principles governing these matters can be found in the ACAS code of practise and they must be used as arguments against any attempts to restrict time off for union reps.